Be A ‘Sharpshooter’ When Applying For Jobs In Your Ideal Industry

Be A ‘Sharpshooter’ When Applying For Jobs In Your Ideal Industry
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Some industries, such as games development, are extremely difficult to get into without a lot of experience and a few completed projects under your belt. Entry-level roles are far and few between and when an opportunity does pop up, applicants are willing to try anything just to be in the industry, let alone their ideal job. While it might seem OK to go for unrelated positions, it can seriously compromise your chances in the future.

Image by Juhan Sonin / Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

Insomniac Games’ HR recruiter Angela Baker has written about the company’s recent hiring experiences, which involved the aforementioned scenario.

A position became available for a HR assistant and naturally, the developer got the recruitment ball rolling. Along with the usual assortment of applications came a great deal with completely the wrong skill set, but better suited for roles in actual games development. One could see any position at a games studio — or any company involved in a hard-to-get-into, specialised industry — as a way to get a foot in the door. Sure, you might start out in HR, but you could use that as an opportunity to move into what you really want to do.

Unfortunately, for those that did attempt this strategy, it didn’t impress Baker and if anything, it can damage one’s chances to get a position at the company:

The worst offenders were guilty of what I’ll kindly refer to as application SPAM. APP SPAM is applying for a job the candidate is not really interested in or qualified for … just because you want to work in games, heck, just because you want to work at INSOMNIAC GAMES, doesn’t mean you should apply to every position we have available. With a shotgun approach you’re only going to end up shooting yourself in the foot!

She goes on to say that Insomniac effectively blacklists people who do this, putting their resumes aside for 12 months before it will consider the applicant again. Baker elaborates on this hard stance:

… This is what it looks like on our side of the fence… we are going to see that you applied for HR, and art, and animation, and programming — all just hoping to get your resume seen by someone — anyone. What it shows us is that you are confused and perhaps a spammer of resumes. Did you read the posting? Did you really think that your skills were a match for the job? I’m not talking about the people who apply for a gameplay programming spot and also apply for a mobile gameplay spot. These jobs are similar and clearly have some similar skills and knowledge overlap. I’m talking radically different skills for each job.

Baker ends by stating that when you apply for jobs, you should be a “sharpshooter”, not a “shotgunner”. Sure, explore as many avenues as you can when trying to get a break in your favoured industry, but by the same token, don’t jeopardise your future chances by making a mockery of the process.

How I Screwed Myself Out of a Job at Insomniac Games [Insomniac Games]


  • Yep, I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it. I’ve been in the games industry 11 years and whenever a young guy or girl asks me how to get into it, I always tell them the same thing: Pick a discipline. Don’t say “I can do anything, just hire me!”, because that’s the last thing they are looking for. Instead, choose what you want to do, focus on that, and blow them away with your application.

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